While the Denver Nuggets were winners of 57 games in the 2012-13 NBA season, I was part of the camp that believed they were going to be substantially worse this season. The loss of Andre Iguodala, George Karl and Masai Ujiri seemed like too much to recover from to come close to 57 wins again. However, I didn’t think they would be as bad as they’ve looked thus far.
After a 114-103 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Friday night, the Nuggets now sit at just 1-4 for the season and have looked like a shell of the team that they were last year. Their defense is still below-average and their offense isn’t clicking at all as they are still trying to adjust to new head coach Brian Shaw’s new system.
One of the most glaring issues for the Nuggets this season so far has been their lack of production from their frontcourt. The three players that have started in their frontcourt, JaVale McGee, J.J. Hickson and Kenneth Faried, haven’t looked great for extended stretches yet this season and all three have been highly ineffective offensively. Throw in Timofey Mozgov to the mix, who’s been okay offensively, but has been abused on the other end of the floor, and matters aren’t much improved.
On Friday night, those four players and Darrell Arthur all saw minutes in the frontcourt, but once again failed to produce. The five players combined for only 15 points and 15 rebounds. If that’s one player putting up those numbers, the team is happy. If it’s five players, your team is going to blow a lead in the fourth quarter, which is what happened to Denver.
There are a lot of problems that the Nuggets are facing, but their frontcourt is the most glaring right now. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that these players are in a new system, the fact that their rotation is too crowded, or a combination of those things. Whatever it is, though, Denver needs to find a remedy if they want to even make it back to the playoffs this season.